"Serious failures" in the public health system led to the death of 19 people linked to listeria and streptococcal outbreaks, a former health chief said.
Professor John Ashton said that budgets and salaries have been "drastically" reduced – with almost a decade of austerity that has left local authorities unable to "keep up with threats to human health".
His report came when it was announced that British Grand Bake Off judge Prue Leith will advise a government review on hospital food.
A total of six people died later eat ready-made salads and sandwiches linked to the outbreak of listeria, while 13 people died due to the spread of group A streptococcus – a rare bacterial infection.
Professor Ashton, who was regional director of public health in the North West between 1993 and 2006, warned that there are systemic problems in the NHS – "resulting in the death of senior citizens who deserved better".
He also said that public health institutions were "eliminated" as their responsibility was shifted to local governments.
Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, he drew comparisons with two major incidents that caused 41 deaths in the mid-80s with outbreaks of salmonella and legionella poisoning.
These outbreaks had followed "radical changes" to the local government that "unraveled" the public health system at the time, said Professor Ashton.
His report added: "Now is the time to digest these latest failures of a public health system that was implemented only six years ago as part of the structural changes to Andrew Lansley's former Health Secretary at the NHS and for public health.
"There is a schism in which the clinical perspective in local government is disappearing and the links between local authorities and the NHS have become increasingly dysfunctional.
"This was reflected in the deterioration of performance in areas that include sexual health programs, vaccinations, vaccinations and screening."
Describing what should be done to prevent further deaths, Professor Ashton said: "The lesson of history is that we should not undertake another reorganization folly but rather find ways to strengthen what we now have and support its evolution into something suitable for the purpose ".
The dott. Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infects Service at Public Health England, said: "PHE quickly identified the extension and source of the recent outbreak of listeria, using the entire genome sequencing, which has certainly saved lives human health. The public health system works 24/7 to protect the country from infectious diseases and other health hazards. "
The government review will examine the quality of the 140 million meals provided to patients each year, as well as staff meals.
Prue Leith has previously criticized hospital meals and asks that they be made more palatable and nutritious.
He said: "A meal in the hospital should be a small highlight, a little pleasure and comfort, and should help, not hinder, patient recovery".
The review will look at increasing the number of internal hospitals and how to use less frozen food and more fresh local produce.
The Royal College of Nursing reacted skeptically to Leith's appointment – with director Patricia Marquis who said "a celebrity chef is not needed to tell you that food in the hospital needs a revision".
He added: "This will not have a lasting impact without a large-scale investment in the health and welfare system".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Ensuring that hospitals serve nutritional, tasty and fresh meals will not only help patients recover, but will also feed staff and visitors as they look after their loved ones and the most vulnerable.
"Our SSN has led the way since the day it was formed. This review will ensure that it remains the standard bearer of healthy choices, as it works relentlessly to improve the welfare of the nation."